Valentina Bini is a ball of energy. She sits at the Petroplan conference table, a brightly lit room with large windows looking out over west Houston’s energy corridor, looking like she might jump out of the seat at any moment.
“The year has gone by so fast,” she says, looking like the completion of her first twelve months at Petroplan has genuinely surprised her.
“I didn’t think I’d have done so many different things so soon after joining this team.”
Valentina began her recruitment career five years ago, after graduating from UH with a bachelors in psychology.
“It’s been a particularly challenging time for recruiters everywhere,” she says.
“The pandemic dominated so much of the landscape for all of us, and for the customers we serve. It was draining in a lot of ways. Now that period is behind us, there’s this huge swell of energy in the industry, and so much activity going on.”
The statistics back this up. According to government data, overall labor force participation is back to its pre-pandemic forecasted level, and the closely-watched prime-age labor force participation rate is now a shade above pre-pandemic levels.
Over the past 12 months, the market has seen a net gain of more than four million jobs, averaging around 350,000 new jobs gained, per month. This has left unemployment at a decades-long low. Filling these jobs represents a huge challenge in such a competitive market, especially in clean energy where skills are in relatively short supply.
When asked about her approach to recruiting, Valentina explains that she looks for several key qualities in a candidate. She looks for candidates who have the right skills and experience for the role, as well as a strong work ethic, excellent communication skills, and the ability to work effectively in a team. She also looks for candidates who are passionate about their work and are committed to driving success for themselves and others.
“We have to look beyond the candidates’ hard skills to work out if they’re a genuine fit for the company they’re joining,” she says.
The daughter of an expat, she spent her childhood in seven different countries, thriving amid the change and the constant exposure to new cultures. She brings this experience into her job.
“Culture is so important, particularly now that so many teams are working remotely and are separated from each other day to day.”
Valentina has adapted to a wide range of recruiting activities in engineering and oil and gas. The variety has clearly made her job quite challenging, but she focuses on the human elements of the recruiting task.
"I enjoy getting to know my clients and candidates on a personal level. It helps me to understand what motivates them and what they're looking for in a role,” she says.
“Valentina has been an asset to our team since she joined us a year ago,” says Craig McConochie, Petroplan’s Country Manager in the US.
“Her dedication to finding the best people, whatever the discipline, has made her hugely successful, and our clients appreciate the results they see.”
Outside work, Valentina is an avid cook who loves to experiment with different cuisines. Her parents are Indian and Italian, which has influenced her cooking style.
"I love trying out new recipes and experimenting with different flavors. Cooking is a creative outlet for me, and I find it very relaxing."
After a few very confident photographs, she leaves as quickly as she arrived, back to the team, and to the open job list.